Itinerary Highlights

  • Take the Shinkansen bullet train to the major sights on the island of Honshu
  • Stay at an onsen ryokan, a traditional Japanese hot spring inn
  • Explore a volcano and the crystalline Lake Ashi in Hakone
  • Visit Kyoto’s most celebrated temples
  • Shop for designer goods at the best markets in Tokyo and Kyoto

Follow in our Footsteps

Editor’s Itinerary

Duration: 12 Days

12 days of cities, hot springs and temples

Few countries in the world are as fascinating as Japan. Besides spectacular monuments, museums and scenery, there is a deep culture of excellence and refinement that informs daily life. Helpfully for the traveler, more Japanese people than ever speak English, and new English-language signage has appeared in airports and train stations.

The following 12-day itinerary would be ideal for an introduction to Japan, combining stays in two important cities with respites in the beguiling countryside. Several stops allow you to soak in traditional hot spring baths and help wash away the stresses of daily life. The destinations can all be easily linked by train, making long and inconvenient treks to airports unnecessary.